By Agnel Philip and Tyler Fingert – The Republic | azcentral.com –
The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has agreed not to pursue charges against a man who carried an AR-15 rifle into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in July as long as he meets certain requirements, records show.
Dr. Peter Steinmetz, a director at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, had been facing two counts of disorderly conduct. After signing a “pre-indictment resolution offer” on Tuesday, Steinmetz told 12 News that the deal was a victory for gun-rights advocates.
“I certainly didn’t intend to commit a crime; I did not commit a crime,” Steinmetz said. “I think the important point that was made is that, in fact, as Americans, we have a non-infringeable right to keep and bear arms and that you can legally do so at Sky Harbor Airport.”
The agreement stipulates that Steinmetz must complete NRA-certified courses by the end of March 2015 and avoid openly carrying a firearm in the Valley’s major airports for the next two years, although he may carry a concealed firearm. He is also required to make a $500 donation to the Rio Salado Sportsman’s Club Youth Program.
In the agreement signed by Steinmetz, his attorney and Deputy County Attorney Keith D. Manning, prosecutors also reserved the right to file criminal charges if Steinmetz “violates any term or condition of this agreement.”
Steinmetz received national attention in July after walking around Sky Harbor with an AR-15 slung over his shoulder during a self-described coffee run.
While bringing the gun to the airport is not illegal, Steinmetz was arrested on suspicion of two counts of disorderly conduct after the gun’s muzzle reportedly faced toward a frightened woman and her daughter, according to Phoenix police. Barrow put Steinmetz on a brief administrative leave, and he returned to work a week later, he said Tuesday.
Steinmetz said that his trip to the airport was peaceful until the police arrested him and that few people noticed he had a gun as he walked through one of the airport’s busiest terminals.